Living conditions

The "assembly centers" were hastily erected quarters located throughout the West Coast at fairgrounds, racetracks and other similar facilities. Conditions at these locations were appalling. People were housed in animal stalls and barracks with communal bathrooms and mess halls. Privacy was next to nonexistent. Most families lived in a 20-by-20-foot room separated from the next "apartment" by wood partitions that did not reach the ceiling. Shortages of food and deplorable sanitation were common. Overcrowding, uncertainty, and stress created tension in the "assembly centers," even as the demoralized camp inmates tried to improve living conditions.

World War II (216)
Temporary Assembly Centers (177)
Living conditions (363)

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363 items
View of Stockton Assembly Center (ddr-densho-151-7)
img View of Stockton Assembly Center (ddr-densho-151-7)
Original WRA caption: Stockton, California. Part of the Stockton Assembly center as seen at noon on a hot day. This center has been open to evacuees of Japanese ancestry for one week.
View of barracks (ddr-densho-151-230)
img View of barracks (ddr-densho-151-230)
Original caption: San Bruno, California. Barracks for family living quarters. Each door enters into a family unit of two small rooms. The center was opened just two days before this picture was taken. The people shown in this photograph have just arrived and are occupying themselves with building benches, chairs, tables, and shelves, for their belonging, …
Japanese American inside barracks (ddr-densho-151-50)
img Japanese American inside barracks (ddr-densho-151-50)
Original WRA caption: San Bruno, California. A close-up of an entrance of a family apartment. Note that the windows in this unit have been enlarged. Five people occupy two small rooms, the inner one of which is without outside door or windows.
Japanese American next to barracks (ddr-densho-151-352)
img Japanese American next to barracks (ddr-densho-151-352)
Original caption: San Bruno, California. Many evacuees suffer from lack of their accustomed activity. The attitude of the man shown in this photograph is typical of the residents in assembly centers, and because there is not much to do and not enough work available, they mill around, they visit, they stroll and they linger to while …
Horse stalls at Tanforan Assembly Center (ddr-densho-151-30)
img Horse stalls at Tanforan Assembly Center (ddr-densho-151-30)
Original WRA caption: San Bruno, California. Near view of horse-stall, left from the days when what is now Tanforan Assembly Center, was the famous Tanforan Race Track. Most of these stalls have been converted into family living quarters for Japanese.
Telegram from Shigeo Fukuhara to Tatuya Ichikawa (ddr-densho-258-205)
doc Telegram from Shigeo Fukuhara to Tatuya Ichikawa (ddr-densho-258-205)
A telegram sent to Tatsuya Ichikawa at Santa Fe Department of Justice Internment Camp from Shigeo Fukuhara at Minidoka Concentration Camp informing Tatsuya that his two youngest children have been hospitalized. Fukuhara informs Ichikawa that telegrams from the Minidoka Health Nurse and Social Service Counselor have been sent to help Ichikawa get temporary parole so he …
Letter from Ishi Morishita to Mrs. Charles Gates (ddr-densho-211-5)
doc Letter from Ishi Morishita to Mrs. Charles Gates (ddr-densho-211-5)
Letter explaining the sudden relocation of the Masuda family to Poston, Arizona. Four stamps that match the ones on letters from the Morishitas.
Letter from Kikuye Matsuda to Mrs. Charles Gates (ddr-densho-211-1)
doc Letter from Kikuye Matsuda to Mrs. Charles Gates (ddr-densho-211-1)
Letter from Kikuye Masuda to Mrs. Charles Gates about a house Mrs. Gates is occupying.
Tule Lake Cooperator, Vol. 2 No. 36 (November 13, 1943) (ddr-densho-289-3)
doc Tule Lake Cooperator, Vol. 2 No. 36 (November 13, 1943) (ddr-densho-289-3)
Selected article titles: "Co-op Will Keep Cash For Colonists With Interest" (p. 1), "Editorial: Government" (p. 1), "Difficulty in Supplying Laundry Soap" (p. 1).
Dr. Kikuo H. Taira (ddr-csujad-8-70)
doc Dr. Kikuo H. Taira (ddr-csujad-8-70)
Oral history interview with Dr. Kikuo H. Taira. Information on the oral history project is found in: csuf_stp_0012A; Glossary in: csuf_stp_0014. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: FCPL Taira, Dr Kikuo
Dr. George Suda (ddr-csujad-8-65)
doc Dr. George Suda (ddr-csujad-8-65)
Oral history interview with Dr. George Suda. Information on the oral history project is found in: csuf_stp_0012A; Glossary in: csuf_stp_0014. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: FCPL Suda, Dr George
Dr. Fusaji Inada (ddr-csujad-8-26)
doc Dr. Fusaji Inada (ddr-csujad-8-26)
Oral history interview with Dr. Fusaji Inada. Information on the oral history project is found in: csuf_stp_0012A; Glossary in: csuf_stp_0014. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: FCPL Inada, Dr Fusaji
Naomi Tagawa (ddr-csujad-8-69)
doc Naomi Tagawa (ddr-csujad-8-69)
Oral history interview with Naomi Tagawa. Information on the oral history project is found in: csuf_stp_0012A; Glossary in: csuf_stp_0014. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: FCPL Tagawa, Naomi
Letter from Rose Tani to Rev. Miller, 1942 May 10 (ddr-csujad-20-17)
doc Letter from Rose Tani to Rev. Miller, 1942 May 10 (ddr-csujad-20-17)
Vociferous indictment of the Ladies aid of the Methodist Church for holding a luncheon picnic for "Japanese leaving Santa Anita," and similar efforts, stating that such overtures to "entertain enemies of their native land" are "traitor[ous]" and "disgrace the good sense of American woman hood." See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization …
Letter from Seda Suzuki to Rev. and Mrs. Miller, 1942 September 11 (ddr-csujad-20-19)
doc Letter from Seda Suzuki to Rev. and Mrs. Miller, 1942 September 11 (ddr-csujad-20-19)
A letter sent to Mr. and Mrs. Wendell Miller giving thanks for his sermon. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-46_19
Letter from the Suzuki's to Rev. and Mrs. Miller, circa 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-13)
doc Letter from the Suzuki's to Rev. and Mrs. Miller, circa 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-13)
Letter from the Suzuki's to Rev. and Mrs. Miller regarding recent happenings at the Santa Anita Assembly Center. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-46_14
Letter from June Harino to Rev. Miller, 1942 October 15 (ddr-csujad-20-22)
doc Letter from June Harino to Rev. Miller, 1942 October 15 (ddr-csujad-20-22)
A letter from June Harino sent to Miller regarding her being assigned to a camp in Jerome, Arkansas where there awaits a "certain someone" with whom she is very happy. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-46_11
Letter from June Harino to Rev. Miller, 1942 June 9 (ddr-csujad-20-20)
doc Letter from June Harino to Rev. Miller, 1942 June 9 (ddr-csujad-20-20)
A letter sent to Mr. Wendell L. Miller. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-46_20
Letter from Lester Suzuki to Brother [Wendell L.] Miller, May 4, 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-3)
doc Letter from Lester Suzuki to Brother [Wendell L.] Miller, May 4, 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-3)
Personal letter written from the Santa Anita Temporary Assembly Center and describing early days there, including lack of regular work and schooling schedules and of appropriate food for children; scouts and boys' clubs being in development; religious services on Sundays attracting nearly 2000 people; and the need to wait for community facilities such as laundry and …
Letter from T. Takahashi and Family to Rev. Wendell L. Miller, May 14, 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-5)
doc Letter from T. Takahashi and Family to Rev. Wendell L. Miller, May 14, 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-5)
Personal letter written from the Santa Anita Assembly Center; thanks Miller for his "kind treatment and wonderful assistance in our evacuation" and mentions that his or her mother is now recovering with them after suffering from worry and tiredness. Takahashi states that their life was previously too materialistic, and that this is a "God-given opportunity ... …
News Clippings (ddr-csujad-20-24)
doc News Clippings (ddr-csujad-20-24)
Newspaper clippings, circa 1942. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-45_01
Letter to Wendell L. Miller, 1942 April 27 (ddr-csujad-20-21)
doc Letter to Wendell L. Miller, 1942 April 27 (ddr-csujad-20-21)
An angry letter sent to Mr. Wendell L. Miller. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-44_03
Letter from George K. Sakai,  1942 May 4 (ddr-csujad-20-14)
doc Letter from George K. Sakai, 1942 May 4 (ddr-csujad-20-14)
Letter from George Sakai to United Methodist Church regarding address information for a mutual friend. See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-46_13
Comic Strip, 1943 December 26 (ddr-csujad-20-12)
doc Comic Strip, 1943 December 26 (ddr-csujad-20-12)
Clipped comic strip of "Little Joe." See this object in the California State Universities Japanese American Digitization project site: WLM_01-45_02
Letter from Mrs. L. [Lester] Suzuki to Rev. [Wendell L.] and Mrs. [?] Miller, May 5, 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-4)
doc Letter from Mrs. L. [Lester] Suzuki to Rev. [Wendell L.] and Mrs. [?] Miller, May 5, 1942 (ddr-csujad-20-4)
Personal letter written from the Santa Anita Assembly Center. Suzuki thanks Reverend Miller and Mrs. Miller for their kindness; mentions friends among the "dear Caucasian ministers such as you"; and discusses the importance of religious services, housing in a new barrack vs. in the stables, making furniture from scrap wood, an impending increase in number of …
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